So way back when, you had that dream, meet the one, marry, kids, dog, mother-in-law etc etc- perfect marital bliss. Right? Well, as we know, life doesn’t always turn out as we had planned. Maybe he wasn’t the one, maybe the dog wee’s all over the house or maybe you just cannot stand your mother-in-law, whatever the reason: Solo- parenting doesn’t generally tend to be up there on anyone’s ‘ideal’ list, does it? Therefore, if you do find yourself a single parent, there is, understandably a momentous learning curve. It is an overwhelming, daunting and downright scary path.
Here are the things I have learned, as a single parent- the bits I feel we shouldn’t keep mum about…
It’s hard, but that’s okay
That once shared work load, comes down to you. The night-time waking, the discipline, the mealtimes, the NAPPIES, the whole shebang. Some days, it will feel impossible, those are the days you need to say “THIS FEELS IMPOSSIBLE”. It is bloody hard work and you deserve to say so. In fact, single parent, you deserve an “I was brave today” sticker, every day. Tell someone, someone that will listen, if they bring stickers (or gin) they’re worth their weight in gold. Which brings me to the next point….
Friendship & Family
Surround yourself with people you LOVE spending time with. People that make you happy, these are the people that will heal you. They’ll listen, they’ll bring ice cream and chocolate, sometimes they even bring alcoholic beverages. Make plans, make memories, enjoy them. Right now, they’re your shoulder to cry on, don’t feel guilty for that, they understand and they know that, you are theirs too.
Take a Break
Right now, there is so much pressure, anything that doesn’t NEED to be done that creates pressure, can wait. For me, blogging has taken a back seat. The ‘need’ to watch Hollyoaks every night has dissipated and I’ve focused more energy on the necessary pressures and then letting my hair down when I can. Blogging and Hollyoaks will be there when you’re ready, you cannot pour from an empty cup…
As well as filing some of your day- to- day activities in the fuck it bucket, ensure you do some things for you. Something you enjoy. Becoming a parent in the first place can give you are real identity crisis it is therefore largely inevitable you will feel that way when becoming a single parent for the first time. Spending some time away from the job title “mum” or “dad” and being a grown up is important too.
It’s not broken
We hear a lot about “broken homes”. To my way of thinking, this is just another way to guilt us, there is enough guilt surrounding a separation. A hostile living environment is far more ‘broken’ than mummy and daddy living in separate houses. Sometimes, the best reason to leave is because your children are watching. You, your life, it is not broken, you have not failed.
You do not have enough hands
At some point in what was your routine, you will suddenly cry “I do not have enough hands”. It might be that your other half cooked dinner whilst you tidied the house, it might be that you put a child to bed each at the same time, it could be any number of things. At first, there is a lot of plate spinning and you wont always manage to keep them all going, take a deep breath, go back to the drawing board, tomorrow is a new day.
I had one, but i didn’t fully appreciate it until recently. It IS the extra pair of hands you’ve been looking for. Especially one with a seat and steering wheel, the kids love it and you can get round Sainsbury’s incident free! Thank me later!
It’s the little things
Small victories, baby steps. Celebrate them, each and every one.
Don’t be afraid to move on
Moving house, changing jobs, hell meeting someone new, life moving on in general, is all normal. It’s healthy, you are allowed to do those things, they are all part of the healing process.
I apologise if you found some of this post a bit cliche, if i’m honest it probably is. Although, a cliche can be a comfort, isn’t that why we take to Pinterest and pin all the quotes and memes that passive aggressively pour our hearts out? Anyway, there it is, my list of some of the things I have learned, but, most importantly, know that…
It will be okay!
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